AFP-PNP admits spending ₱5 billion per year vs NPA in Eastern Visayas
In a “multi-sectoral conference” led by the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC)-8 last May 25 in Catbalogan City, Samar, 8th Infantry Division commander Maj. Gen. Pio Diñoso III admitted that the AFP-PNP in the region spends P5 billion of the people’s money every year to defeat the New People’s Army (NPA).
The people are outraged that ₱5 billion worth of public funds are wasted annually for a military campaign that has brought death, destruction, and hardship to the masses. That amount includes only the operational costs of the military and police for Duterte’s all-out war. It does not include the personal damages caused to the thousands of victims of summary killings, abduction, torture, harassment, displacement, economic blockades and other human rights violations over the current and previous puppet regimes.
The Duterte regime’s priorities are cruel, twisted and traitorous. Billions of pesos are wasted as millions are hungry for aid and suffer under the worst economic crisis in decades, exacerbated by a raging pandemic that the regime has failed to control. The government spends for helicopters, jets, bombs, and artillery against the NPA while incurring loan after loan to supposedly buy vaccines, improve testing and other anti-COVID measures. Soldiers and police officers swarm peasant communities to conduct combat and psy-war operations against their fellow Filipinos, while Chinese incursions into Philippine territories are left practically physically uncontested by the AFP.
What could have cost less and could have been more worthwhile for the Duterte government and the Filipino people was to pursue peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). Significant steps could have been achieved towards addressing the people’s demands for genuine agrarian reform, national industrialization, strengthening and widening access to social services such as health care and education, and an independent foreign policy, among others, which are also the reasons why the armed revolution persists.
But the Duterte regime refuses to listen to the people’s demands and continues to wield state terrorism to wage the most brutal campaign of suppression against all opposition to perpetuate his tyrannical rule. Through the “whole-of-nation approach,” the military wields extraordinary bureaucratic privileges to coerce local government officials, government agencies, civil-society groups, and private individuals into participating in their counter-insurgency campaign, veiled through “multi-sectoral conferences” such as the one held in Catbalogan.
Over the past months, Duterte’s civil-military junta which is the NTF-ELCAC is ramping up its campaign against the growing calls to defund the fascist task force. Spokespersons such as Lorraine Badoy have visited municipalities where some barangays are declared “cleared” of the NPA, to gain support for the NTF-ELCAC from local officials. It is deathly afraid to lose more of its funds aside from its P16-billion pork barrel in the Barangay Development Program, which shall line the pockets of local government officials through by a slew of anomalous infrastructure projects, and are thus vital to impose political influence less than a year before the 2022 elections.
The people must unite to expose and oppose the Duterte’s costly and futile all-out war. They must demand that government reallocate counterinsurgency spending, such as the ₱19-billion NTF-ELCAC fund and the P5-billion funds of the AFP-PNP against the NPA in Eastern Visayas, towards mass vaccination, mass testing, free treatment, as well as commensurate and immediate economic relief, among other demands. The people must hold Duterte accountable for continuing anti-poor and anti-people economic policies while inflating budget allocations for military operations.#